The San Antonio Spurs blew a 25-point lead on the road in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the top-seeded Warriors, but Kawhi Leonard's ankle injury and uncertain status for the rest of the series overshadowed the Spurs' huge collapse.
On Monday's episode of "The Herd", Colin Cowherd explained why we shouldn't be making excuses for the Spurs, with or without Leonard.
Great organizations are supposed to persevere through adversity
"The better the organization, the more capable that organization is of weathering the loss of a great employee.
"This morning, let’s not talk about athletes, let’s just talk about employees. A well-run law firm can withstand losing a great attorney. A well-run hospital could lose its best surgeon and still save lives.
"And we see this all the time in sports. The Patriots lose Gronk? They win a Super Bowl. Golden State lost Kevin Durant? They won 14 straight games."
Troy TaorminaTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Warriors made it through Kevin Durant's injury
“Now, I will say this. Every great organization - even if you are the Patriots, even if you are the Warriors… and I believe the three best organizations in sports are the Patriots, the Spurs and the Warriors.
"But even if you’re a great organization, if you lose a great player - Gronk, Kevin Durant or Kawhi yesterday, you may stumble. There’s no getting around it. When Kevin Durant initially got hurt for the Warriors this year, they went 2-5.
"Then they stabilized and won 14 straight.”
Soobum ImSoobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
I don’t want to hear excuses
“So Kawhi Leonard went down yesterday and all I hear is ‘well if it wasn’t for Kawhi..’
"No. Actually, we have data on this. The Spurs are 8-1 without Kawhi. They’re 14-4 last two years without Kawhi. Oh by the way - all you nerds who love your analytics in basketball, we know that he is worth about two points per 100 possessions.
"I don’t want to hear excuses. Golden State was going to run through San Antonio either way.”
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We didn't make excuses for LeBron when he lost to the Warriors in the Finals
“I don’t want to hear about ‘they got off to a big lead…’ Yeah, that’s what tends to happen when teams like Golden State sit around for seven or eight days and their spacing is terrible and their urgency is off.
"And they’re not getting into plays on the fast break. Their wings were slow to get down the court and set up for threes.
"This Spurs organization [has] no excuses now. You wouldn’t give LeBron an inch of his excuse when they lost Kyrie and Kevin Love in the Finals."
The Spurs have already proven they can win without Kawhi
“I don’t want to hear Gregg Popovich now [saying] ‘we can’t win without [Kawhi]. You were 8-1 this year without Kawhi! You are14-4.
"The Patriots won a Super Bowl without Gronk. The Warriors won 14 straight without Kevin Durant. I’ll give you a pass yesterday, it was de-stabilized, but you have shown an ability to win games and get here with all sorts of injuries."